SOUTHINGTON - Tim OâShea believed he needed a change and now, he couldnât be more excited for the opportunity.
The former Southington High receiver will once again be playing football in his home state. OâShea announced on Twitter Sunday night he was transferring from Wagner College, a school that competes against CCSU in the NEC, to UConn, where he will be playing tight end.
âIâm real excited,â OâShea told the Herald on Monday. âItâs funny, I always told my dad when I was growing up I wanted to be on the sideline like the guys I was watching on TV and here I am. But it was a big decision and it was close to home, so that was one of the reasons. It wasnât anything to do with the football program at Wagner, it had more to do with the academics and what I want to major in.â
An All-CCC selection for the Blue Knights in 2017, OâShea led Southington in catches (49), yards (609) and touchdowns (8) that year and later signed his letter of intent with the Seahawks last February. But the sophomore did not appear in a game last season during his transition from receiver to tight end.
When OâShea decided to enter the transfer portal in December, he reached out to his high school coach Mike Drury, who let him know what some of the situations were regarding the collegiate football teams in the state. Drury also happened to mention the Huskies were in need of some tight ends after losing Aaron McLean, Tyler Davis and Zordan Holman. The only other tight end listed on UConnâs spring roster was another former Southington standout in Jay Rose. The two had been teammates on the Blue Knights when Rose was a senior and OâShea a sophomore.
After weighing his options, OâShea narrowed his choice down to two finalists: UConn and Southern Connecticut State.
âSouthern Connecticut has a nice campus, great coaches and even though itâs Division II, has a great program,â OâShea said. âI reached out to UConn in late February, early March and it came down to those two. One thing I learned at Wagner, is football is football and itâs kind of the same everywhere. I was kind of looking more at academics because I made a decision out of high school just for football and I didnât want to do that again. Wagner gave me the experience I needed. Now, Iâm ready to take on the challenges of UConn and playing in the American Athletic Conference.â
After OâShea reached out to UConn about playing in Storrs, the tight end said, one of the programâs recruiting coordinators followed him on Twitter. It led to OâShea reaching out again and a meeting with UConn tight ends coach Corey Edsall and Rose followed, in which they talked football and broke down film of the Huskiesâ tight end play from last year.
âYou could tell [Edsall] was trying to pick my brain a little bit,â OâShea said. âI was pretty scared, to be honest, going like, âplease donât mess that up, please donât mess that up.â He was asking me what the tight end did right, what the tight end did wrong. I guess I did really well in that. I know guys are faster than me and stronger than me, but I think one of the strongest aspects of my game is the mental side and being able to understand different techniques and leverages and things like that.â
OâShea certainly has the size to compete at the FBS level now. He left Southington at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, before bulking up to 205 his freshman year. Now, heâs up to 230 and studying tape on some of the NFLâs elite tight ends from former Patriot Rob Gronkowksi to the Chiefsâ Jason Kelce to the 49ersâ George Kittle. Adding it to his game is something OâShea is always looking to do.
And when he let Edsall know he was coming to UConn, OâShea said, his new position coach was âfired up.â His parents, Theresa and Tim II, were just as thrilled. OâSheaâs mother is a UConn alum, while the younger OâShea said his dad cried a little thinking back to the tailgates the two had gone to years earlier.
âI must be the luckiest kid in the world,â OâShea said. âI have parents who are so supportive. I donât have any brothers or sisters, so theyâve been great in supporting me in what I want to do. They keep telling me to move forward and keep looking forward. Iâm the only one in my family playing any kind of collegiate sport and my aunts, uncles and cousins have all been really supportive. My grandfather is really excited because he can finally come see games because Iâm closer to home. Heâs really one of my biggest supporters and a big inspiration to me.â
Now, OâShea is looking forward to giving both his family and UConn something to cheer about.
âMy time here at Wagner has been awesome,â OâShea said. âI learned a lot about myself and my faith and Iâm excited to take on this new challenge at UConn. Iâm really grateful for this opportunity. It doesnât matter if itâs with the offense, special teams or scout team. I just want to help the team win.â
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org